I definitely understand why Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram seems like everyone is showing off and showing their best selves.
But I honestly don't think most people have bad intentions.
I think mostly we like social media to be somewhat of an escape from daily life. Daily life can be so daily.
My life is full of so much dirty laundry, stinky bathrooms, bad attitudes, sleepless nights, insecure thoughts, relationships that take work, to-do lists that don't end, meals that don't cook themselves......but no one really wants to hear about that.
(In my opinion, face-to-face relationships are a better context to share real life....the good, the bad, and the ugly.)
Social media seems to have evolved into a place to share your high moments. And as the saying goes, "The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel." (I think Steven Furtick said that, but when I google it....like 429 people take credit for it, so I don't actually know)
Even though I overshare on FB, I actually am a pretty private person, and you probably don't notice but I don't actually share very much personal stuff. While it is never my intention to give the appearance my life is rainbows and cupcakes, I sometimes wonder if that's what comes across when people follow me on Facebook. (Another topic for another day....but even though I don't share the bad moments, I actually don't share the sacred, best moments either. I kind of just share the light-hearted, funny things.)
This is a realllllllly long explanation to get to my actual point. Which is sometimes I totally suck. And I want you to know that. My husband and kids could probably write a book on my suckage some days. And sometimes life is just plain hard.
While I am 100% truthful on Facebook (my kids really do say the most ridiculous stuff), I omit much of my life. It is definitely not to make anyone think I have it together (because I don't), but because there isn't a disclaimer for intentions, I realize it could come across that way.
To make yourself feel better (or at least normal), here a short, non-exhaustive list of what doesn't make it on social media (because this is a public blog, I still want to maintain some privacy....so these are not too personal, but if you want to know my worst shortcomings, feel free to email or call me. I am a hot mess and screw up so many times a day that I can't even remember it all but would happy to share with you):
- I get short with my kids and lose my temper (I try to be quick to apologize but I still blow it a lot)
- I care too much about what people think
- I read, like, one book a week to my kids (if that)....which is the cardinal sin of homeschooling (I rarely read as a kid and still scored very high on standardized testing....so the fear mongering that kids are only smart if you read to them is lost on me. Sure it's anecdotal evidence but isn't most of life?)
- I rarely make lunch. My kids just sort of eat whatever they find, and if I do make it, it's the most random hodge podge. I hate to cook, so two meals a day is my limit.
- Within reason, I think life is too short to obsess over what you eat (unless that's your passion, then go for it. But if it's not your passion, I wish we all didn't feel so guilty for it)
- My kids watch too much TV
- I try to be strict and consistent with discipline, but I am really not either of those things.
- Most months, I am not actually sure how we will get all of our bills paid
- I have a tendency to turn a blind eye to global issues because I can't bear the pain of some people's reality (I am not proud of this at all and am working on this in small doses, but I have a hard time reconciling my life with that of so many suffering people around the globe and in my own town. Also the news makes me fearful, and I prefer not to live in fear.)
- I get insecure and rehearse all of the ways I am failing as a wife and mom
This is just a very short list of all of the many, many ways I screw up.
We are all human. Everyone has struggles. Everyone has difficult seasons of life. Everyone has insecurities.
As you look at social media, I implore you to remember we are all fighting battles. We are all doing the best we can. We all want to play a significant role in this world, and maybe sharing our highlight reel on social media makes our insecure selves feel victorious for a moment. No one is perfect. No one is even close to perfect. All marriages take work. All toddlers throw tantrums. Even amazing vacations to Europe have delayed flights, uncomfortable hotel beds, and bickering.
I don't know why social media has become a place to only share the highs, but it has. And when you scroll through your newsfeed, you are seeing the best of who people are. And if I took a 10 second snap shot of the best part of your day, you would think pretty highly of yourself too.
Give yourself a break today. Celebrate people's success and life's joys, while remembering that no one is immune to trials and hardships.
I will now step off my soapbox. And, I guess, go read a book to my kids.